Town of Ulster Firing Range: A uncontrolled public nuisance?
Law Enforcement must practice the
correct, safe and accurate use of their firearms; that's not in
What is in question is two-fold:
- Who should use the Town of Ulster Firing Range? Again, no
argument that the Town of Ulster Public Safety officers reasonably
should, and perhaps also the officers of the City of Kingston and maybe
Ulster County. But then there's NY state, the National Guard, the
FBI and many local municipal and county organization, to say nothing of
the apparent and repeated practice of a string of unidentified and
possibly unaffiliated individuals
- Shouldn't practice of firearms, which are deadly force, be
carefully controlled and monitored since they represent a liabilty to
the town.and done with respect to the local property owners?
Firing Range Usage:
- Is in use 2 to 6 days out of the week, for as much as 8-10 hours a day.
- Is often in use multiple times during the day...and into the night
- Is often used by individuals, who, if they were aggregated into groups, would leave more days quiet
- Is 2000' from my house, see this aerial image of this section of Lower Ulter Landing Road
firing is not just plinking but often continuous, mounting at times to
a crashing roar of rapid semi-automatic fire. There are hundreds of
rounds fired a day, a thousand or two in a week. The image below
is a sound editor looking at a 20 minute Firing Range recording. Each spike represents one or more gunshots. To hear a few minutes of it, click here.
- The firing sometimes involves heavier weapons, like rifles and large bore rifles
The Importance of the Firing Range to the Town of Ulster PoliceThe
Town Police see the Range and its use is a source of pride, power
and influence in Hudson Valley law enforcement community. Twenty
years ago, the Range was used sparingly, presumably for Town
officers only; its use has steadily grown with no limit in sight
The Town Police seek to extend its use, improve its facility and get
other law enforcement to buy into these efforts. They indirectly resist
any control of it. Complaints of the noise have been met with
surly indifference and no
lasting effect. Their oversight of the range is a classic case of
conflict of interest, like setting kids to guard a coookie jar.
The Liability of the Firing Range
Should something go awry at the Range due to lack of oversight and control, the Town
could be substantially liable
Ideal use of the Firing Range would be:
- Restricting its use to immediately local law enforcement
its use to organized and controlled group practice, to aggregate and
concentrate "noise periods", thereby reducing them
- Involving property owners within earshot of the range
maintaining/publishing a list/schedule of the groups using it, ideally
available in advance on the web and from the Polic Dispatch line.
- Controlling the range and responding promptly and proactively to indsicriminate, unscheduled and individual use.
- Range control and oversight by non-police personnel, who would meet with and
respond to concerned townspeople.
- The range control person should be reachable 24x7 and have the power
and responsibility to immediately shutdown the range in the case of
unscheduled and indiscriminate use.
- The gate to the facility should be locked when not in scheduled
use; when unlocked, the Town Police Dispatch should be able to supply use
- Restricting its use to a limited number of days per month and a limited weekend and night use.
A final question:
Shouldn't the local property owners be able to plan a party to avoid
having what sounds like a Baghdad firefight in the background? Here's a recording of what it sounds like....except
that it goes on for hours intermittently, sometimes for the whole day. How would you feel if a sound
system was set up at the end of your drive playing the noise that
property owners near the Firing Range hear all the time? Of
course, you would call the police and, in this case, they'd do
something about it
Interim resolution in 2012
This page was originally written in 2011 or so and the following agreement (in PDF format) was reached with the Town Of Ulster Police in 2012.
The fulfillment of the terms of the above letter have gradually
degraded. There is no longer an online published schedule of use
or point of contact, the scheduled hours of use are exceeded, and
attempts to determine proper usage are brushed off. Response to
any and all of this is way down the priority list of the Town of Ulster
Further, it appears that the site will be expanded to serve for the
fire-fighting training of all of Ulster County. While such
training at the existing facility for the Town of Ulster fire-fighters
has never been a nuisance, I'm concerned that its expansion might also
mean an expansion of the firing range. I'm incensed that, in Town
Supervisor proposing the site for that use, no one ever directly
contacted the residents of Lower Ulster Landing Road or asked for their input
and involvement. Nice to know that our peace and quiet and the
value of our property is so unimportant to Quigley. Perhaps he
could half the taxes of everyone within earshot of the facility?